启示录的信息 The Message of the Book of Revelation by Rev. Carpus Yip 葉華牧師/Bilingual Edition ( 简体中文 Simplified Chinese and English)
全备的福音 (启示录 1:4-8)
FULL GOSPEL — REVELATION 1:4-8
Whenever people write a letter it is always with a purpose. Once you know the purpose of the letter you will be able to understand its content better. When you read the Bible you need to pay attention to the purpose of each book so you can better understand its content. The purpose of the whole book can often be found in the introduction. From today’s passage, though it is an introductory greeting, we can clearly see the purpose of the book.
People always say that the content of the book of Revelation makes people fearful. People are fearful because they do not have the ability, the power or the authority to control certain things from happening. If they could control events from happening they would not be afraid .
When people travel by air, they believe that due to the advancement in technology they can achieve full control of the aircraft and the weather and cope with various difficulties. But when they encounter severe turbulence, then they start getting scared; if they see the engine falling off from the plane, they will really panic and start to cry frantically. At that moment they will realize that they are not omnipotent beings. Many unbelievers have the misconception that they can solve anything on their own and that they do not need to depend on God at all. Yes, God has given us a problem-solving mind, we can successfully solve some life issues wisely, but if you think that there is no need for God, you better think again.
People who believe that they have the wisdom and the ability to cope with any kind of unexpected circumstances think that way because they have not yet encountered extreme difficulties.
In the past, when people encountered difficult situations, they would examine themselves to see where they went wrong and then they would turn their hearts to God and seek Him. Children would listen to their parents after they have been disciplined. But during the end times , when people encounter hardships, they will curse God. Children will sue their parents for disciplining them. They have the misconception that they have the power to control their own destiny. John wants us to know what real power is so we know how to face the future events of the end times the right way. So the theme of this passage is: “THE PERFECT FULLNESS OF GOD”.
THE PERFECT TRIUNE GOD SHEDS HIS GRACE
4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Christ reigns sitting on the throne passed down from David; the kings of old were not permanent, only Christ will reign forever.
In here there are many words that appear only in Revelation, words like “who is”, “who was”, and “who is to come”, “the seven Spirits”, “the firstborn from the dead”; these words tell us that He is the almighty, all knowing, eternal living God.
In addition, there are words like “made us to be a kingdom”, “priests to serve His God and Father”, “the Alpha”, “the Omega”, “the Almighty”, etc. Those words also appear only in Revelation . Here we see, the Triune Almighty God bestowing His grace upon us.
Some people might say that their idols work wonders and are very powerful. But their power is inferior. Satan has the power to steal, murder, and destroy; he can use sorcery to hurt others, he can help people have riches and glory for a brief period of time, but he cannot give people new life, abundant life, and eternal glory.
CHRIST’S PERFECT PLAN OF SALVATION
5 To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father.
Christ’s plan of salvation freed us from our sins and made us to be a kingdom and priests. The verbs used here are all in the past tense. We do not have to wait for the future, it already happened; it is all part of the history of the church. It was a process which the Kingdom of Christ had to go through in order to be established.
How did He establish this Kingdom? It was completely done by Christ:
(1)祂自己流血救罪人。 (2)使这些人成为王国即教会。 (3)使这些人成为祭司，做世人与神之间的中间人，为人代求，这才是完备的救恩。并不是使人得救就完工了。
(1) He shed His own blood to save sinners. (2) He made these people to become a Kingdom which is the Church. (3) And made them to be priests, to be a mediator between God and the people of this world , and to pray for them. This is the complete plan of salvation. It was not just for people to be saved.
When is Christ’s work complete? Christ’s work is complete when the believer breaks away from his self-centered lifestyle and becomes a priest to help the people; when he becomes the kingdom of the Lord and an officer of the kingdom, to reign together with the Lord. After all this happens, it may seem that the task is completed, but there is one more step.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
He is coming back with the clouds to complete the entire operation. We can get a vague idea of this by watching a Jewish worship ceremony. The priest will enter into the Sanctuary to pray for the congregation while the congregation waits outside, similar to Christ praying for us in the Sanctuary in heaven. After the priest is done performing his duty, he then comes out to bless the congregation; at that point the worship service is completed.
A cloud represents the presence of God. Christ ascended to heaven with the clouds; officially restored as the Almighty God. At that time He was leaving this world temporarily and only a few had the opportunity to see His awesome glory. When He comes back the second time, He will also be coming with the clouds but then He will be returning in all His glory and majesty.
Jesus Christ first came into this world with love and forbearance to complete His plan of salvation. When He returns the second time, He will appear as the righteous God, the Judge, and the Majestic King.
Although this book mentions many disasters, wars, the destruction of the temple and the evil schemes of the empire that is against God, we should focus our attention on that wonderful day when Christ will return with all His saints. When He returns, He will first meet with the raptured saints in the heavenly sanctuary. That is the time of the wedding banquet of Christ, and the seven years of great tribulation on the earth. The ones who remain on the earth are the unbelievers and those who will believe in the Lord during the seven years of tribulation, including the Jews.
When the Lord came to this world the first time He kept a low profile, as He was born in a humble manger. When He ascended to heaven it was also very low-key, only the disciples saw Him depart. But, when the Lord returns for the second time, it will not be low-key anymore, every eye will see Him, and all the peoples on earth will mourn because of Him. He will come as the King who will judge the whole world. He will return in such a grandiose way that we cannot even imagine.
John did not know how to express this spectacular scene, so he said: “So shall it be! Amen.” No matter how respectable a person is, there will always be someone who will despise him. No one can get the whole world to bow down to them, but when the Lord returns to earth again, everyone will bow down to Him because He is the King of Kings, He is the Judge Most High.
ALMIGHTY GOD FROM BEGINNING TO END
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
This sentence can only be found in book of Revelation. The Alpha and the Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet which means that the Lord established everything from the beginning, no one else could do that but Him. History started with mankind but the records cannot be kept forever. Ancient Egyptian Civilization is just a small part of it, if it was not for self-destruction of mankind, humans could have gone to space thousands of years earlier, but people progress to a certain extent, then war occurs, self-destruction. Only the Lord God is the beginning and the end, His kingdom is everlasting.
When we can only see a small part of the whole picture, we tend to think that whatever happened is bad. For example, when see the suffering of the Church in Smyrna, one of the seven churches in Revelation, we think is bad; but God can use different events, different circumstances, and different ways to benefit those who love Him. Things that happened to us that we think are bad can actually be for our own good.
The word “Almighty” appears in this verse. Actually, how almighty is God? The Bible uses different words for power like: authority, strength, might. Here it refers to the power to control. The Almighty, “panto+krater”= (total + control). Democrat “demo+crat” is control by the people. Autocrat “auto+crat”= (sole + control). “Almighty God” means “The One who has absolute control over everything.” This word tells us that the history of mankind, from beginning to end, is under God’s absolute control.
During these tumultuous times we do not have to worry because our Lord is God Almighty and He has “absolute control over everything”. As long as we do not neglect Him, we will be able to enjoy a happy life just like a child.